Guayana, meet the Hegemony

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Ferromineros en el porton
Quite.

All kinds of very strange stories have been circulating about the situation in the SOE-Hearland of Ciudad Guayana, where a SIDOR strike that’s about to enter its third week is being joined by restive Ferrominera workers, amid an industrial relations climate that seems to be hitting an all-time low.

Andres Velásquez’s twitter TL suggests the National Guard tried to take over Ferrominera’s headquarters with Armored Personnel Vehicles (tanquetas) last night but were driven back by the workers.

Too bad they didn’t send in the tanquetas when Ferrominera’s red managers were busy pilfering $1.2 billion (con ‘b’ de ¡qué bolas!) from the firm…an episode might help explain why it’s now five years behind on its Prestaciones trust fund deposits. 

Local paper Correo del Caroni is doing what it can to cover the crisis, but they’re under tough pressure too, specifically over the Ferrominera scandal (which, in a bizarre twist, is simultaneously openly acknowledged by Ricardo Menéndez and verboten to journalists.)

As best as I can make out, the Sidoristas aren’t even asking for a new Collective Bargaining agreement, they’re protesting because the old agreement, which technically lapsed three years ago, isn’t being followed!

It’s hard to know the scale of this week’s conflict, because the government’s media stranglehold means it’s essentially being blacked out of national media. SIBCI is deep in head-in-the-sand mode on this one. VTV only covers Ferrominera strikes when they end, and then only to suck up to Maduro.

1 COMMENT

  1. Thanks, Francisco. This is a nice compilation of the few things we can get from this affair.

    I will start producing a page in Spanish for Wikipedia entitled “Corrupción en Venezuela” along the lines of https://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corrupci%C3%B3n_en_Chile.
    I am sure Chavistas will try to delete it or else (they have a complete control in Wikipedia of the Maduro pages in Spanish and English and not even quotes of Maduro that put him under unfavorable light are accepted).
    That’s why I will first produce it off line and be sure to include serious references galore (among them some used here).

    Anyone with suggestions can send them to desarrollo.sostenible.venezuela at gmail.

    • The problem is not coming up with examples. That can be done by simply scrolling through the C.C. entries. The problem is indexing and categorizing them all.

      • I know and that is what I will do. If someone wants to help me, I can share a document in google and that person can add stuff. Even if that person has a minute or two every second week. I will make the article evolve and then put it up (in Spanish).

  2. I think, Francisco, that your sentence should read ….”specifically over the Ferrominera scandal (which, in a bizarre twist IN THE REST OF THE WORLD BUT ALL TOO COMMON IN VENEZUELA), is simultaneously openly acknowledged by Ricardo Menéndez and verboten to journalists.

    After all, Communication Hegemony is, in addition to suppressing stories, also about controlling the narrative, no?

  3. Que peo mi hermano, si esto sigue asi y ven que van a perder en diciembre, no me extrañaria nada que: (i) suspendan las elecciones por cualquier excusa, o (ii) se las roben descaradamente otra vez…

    Me inclino mas por la 2da opcion… que pasa despues? lo sabremos despues…

  4. From a pragmatic point of view the protests in Guayana are welcome because they might become the spearhead of the popular rebellion that could topple this regime. From an ethical point of view the protests are mostly about money. I doubt there is anyone in Guayana really thinking about the NATION. Even the “good “guys are mostly the ones who want to get back in the saddle: Velasquez, De Grazia, etc. The sad truth is that, for most of its corporate life, CVG has been a parasite of the central government, rather than a generator of wealth for the nation. The money has mostly moved from north to south, almost never from south to north. After the wonderful pioneers like Alfonzo Ravard, Gamboa, etc, left, CVG became a highly politicized entity, very corrupt, from the times of Sucre Figarella onwards. With bright exceptions at EDELCA and SIDOR, CVG became a nest of corrupt management and of greedy labor unions.
    I told this story in my book: Una perspectiva Gerencial de la Corporacion Venezolana de Guayana, Edit. Melvin, Caracas, 1995, probably only read by a handful of people
    .WARNING: there were many honest managers and technicians in CVG. I am talking about the perverse political leaders that made a mess of the corporation, whom I identified in my book.

    Of course, now it is much worse, as Damian Prats tells us. CVG is now rotten to the core.

  5. It’s hard to know the scale of this week’s conflict, because the government’s media stranglehold means it’s essentially being blacked out of national media.

    This is a wartime situation, and Venezuela is an occupied country. The “lawful” media have been effectively neutralized and rendered useless. The chavernment has done this in a “soft” manner, boiling the frog slowly.

    The oppo must do what resistance movements elsewhere do – establish its own system of news gathering and distribution. It must be formally organized, so that everything is covered, and everyone can hear or read what is happening.

    The system must be carefully operated, reporting only what is known to be true, as the chavernment would seize on any false report to discredit it. Reporting should be strictly factual, no opinions or judgments about persons. The more restrained, the more effective.

    But with such a system in place, the oppo can expose the failures of the regime, and make people aware of the discontent of others. That’s how preference cascades start.

  6. This is a useful post on a topic often underemphasized.

    Outside of Venezuela, the area which generates least sympathy for Chavismo is the repression of working people. It is essential to document each use of military force against unionists to make clear the true nature of the government’s relationship to the working class.

    • military force against unionists to make clear the true nature of the government’s relationship to the working class.

      Yoo-hoo.. PSFs! No shift work today? C’mon! This is a golden opportunity to copy and paste something out of Wikipedia — anything, to earn some extra money, and in Arturo’s case, eat royally, from among the market-plenty offerings.

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